Drew Buell (Part 3)

In the fall of 1997 I began my first semester of college at The Master’s College (TMC).  Ironically enough, I knew next to nothing about TMC before I arrived there.  I had heard the name John MacArthur before, but knew next to nothing about him.  To be honest, the reason I chose to attend TMC was mainly because of the financial package they offered me and the fact that I had heard it was a good school.

My first days at TMC were difficult at best.  I had become so comfortable in Bakersfield with my friends, family, church, etc. that leaving and starting over was nothing short of terrifying.  In fact, the first weekend of college I actually went back home to Bakersfield, which is only an hour away from TMC.

In the sovereignty of God, He used my discomfort to take me down a path I had not expected to travel.  I was so uncomfortable and out of my element during those first few weeks that I almost withdrew and went back home, but after thinking things through I decided to stay and make the most out of the year by taking all of the Bible classes that I could and foregoing any general education classes for the time being.  This turned out to be one of the best decisions that I have ever made in my life.

While my teenage years had been filled with lessons on having a servants heart, one thing that was sorely missing from those years was any serious Bible Study.  I understood that the Bible was a good book, that it was important for me to read it, but I really didn’t have a working theology, nor any understanding of the overall story of Scripture.  My devotional life consisted mostly of flipping my Bible open and searching for a verse that would warm my heart and prepare me for the day.

I was confronted with this lack of Bible knowledge immediately in the classes that I was taking.  I will never forget sitting in my first systematic theology class where the professor (CW Smith) was talking about “exegesis” (BTW: Exegesis refers to the study of Scripture).  He kept using the word “exegesis” over and over and every time he did I wondered to myself “What does Jesus have to do with this topic?”  I was, to say the least, behind the curve of my fellow students.
This obvious lack of knowledge thrust me forward in a hot pursuit of understanding.  I read  the Bible like I had never read it before and with each class period my eyes were opened wider and wider to the great story of Scripture.  To this day, I would classify that year as the greatest year of spiritual growth that I have ever experienced as I fell in love with God’s Word in a way that I had never done before.

One of the great lessons that I have taken away from this season of my life is the unmitigated power of God’s Word to change a person’s life.  The professors at TMC are of the highest caliber, the chapel services were moving, and the campus life was great, but what changed my life in college was the power of God’s Word being unleashed in my soul in a way that it hadn’t been before.

On a side note, this is one of the reasons that I have such a deep love and respect for the ministry of John MacArthur.  I knew virtually nothing about him going into college, but time and time again he helped me to understand the Bible through his preaching, his commentaries, and his administration of the school.

My time at The Master’s College yielded many benefits in my life.  I met my future wife while at college, I made many good friends, and I grew like never before.  All of this was preparing me for the next stage of my life where God would take the investment that was put into me at TMC and use it to develop me into a shepherd.

In the Winter of 2001 I began pastoring at my first church and through God's grace over nearly 18 years of pastoral ministry, I have held fast to the two fundamental convictions that this series of posts began with: 1) That I am a great sinner, 2) That Christ is a great Savior.